It comes on the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law guaranteeing certain employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.
More than 5.400 LGBTQ+ people from all 50 states responded to HRC’s 2018 U.S. LGBTQ+ Paid Leave Survey, the largest and most comprehensive ever of its kind, and the results are sobering only 45 percent of respondents reported that their employers offer leave policies - paid or unpaid - that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ families and identities. And, when compared to the overall U.S. population surveyed in a recent Pew Research poll, LGBTQ+ respondents reported heightened concerns about accessing leave, citing potential loss of income and adverse workplace outcomes from having to disclose their LGBTQ+ identities through leave requests. They also reported higher rates of simply foregoing needed or desired leave to avoid those significant downsides.
Among the survey’s revealing findings:
- Fewer than half of respondents report that their employer’s policies cover new parents of all genders equally;
- Only 49 percent say that employer policies are equally inclusive of the many ways families can welcome a child, including childbirth, adoption, or foster care;
- One in five respondents report that they would be afraid to request time off to care for a loved one because it might disclose their LGBTQ identity, illustrating the need for explicit federal LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections;
- And 48 percent of respondents, reflecting the prevalence of family rejection within the LGBTQ+ community, indicated that they feel an increased responsibility to care for loved ones whose own families have rejected them because of their LGBTQ+ identities -- a critical caretaking role often excluded from leave policies.